The medicine, approved as Ilaris for juvenile arthritis and other conditions, also did not meet its key secondary endpoint of reducing Covid-19 mortality in a late-phase clinical trial, the Basel-based drugmaker said.
Novartis has hoped 11-year-old canakinumab, with $671 million in sales last year, would help Covid-19 patients hit by inflammatory reactions. The trial, in 454 patients in the United States, Russia and Europe, is the latest bid to redirect older anti-inflammatory monoclonal antibodies against the new coronavirus that has delivered disappointing news.
“There’s still an urgent need for effective ways to combat Covid-19 and we will continue to apply our best scientific minds in support of the global pandemic response,” Novartis chief drug developer John Tsai said.
Novartis has another late-stage trial of its drug Jakavi against Covid-19 under way, and has teamed up with Swiss drugmaker Molecular Partners on its anti-coronavirus drug candidate that is due to enter clinical trials soon.